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Pupil told to self-isolate after falling ill following ski trip amid coronavirus fears

PUBLISHED: 15:37 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:13 28 February 2020

Headteacher Andy Johnson at Springwood High School, where a pupil has been cleared of Coronavirus.  Picture: Ian Burt

Headteacher Andy Johnson at Springwood High School, where a pupil has been cleared of Coronavirus. Picture: Ian Burt

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Three pupils at a Norfolk high school have been sent home and one told to self-isolate after falling ill following a skiing trip.

The three, who attend Springwood High School in King's Lynn, were part of a party of 28 students and three staff on a half-term trip to Austria last week.

Andy Johnson, executive headteacher at the West Norfolk Academies Trust, of which Springwood is a member, said: "Today one of our Springwood students, who had been on a half term skiing trip to Austria, felt unwell, and after contacting 111, this pupil has been advised, as a precautionary measure, to self-isolate.

"Two other students who were on this trip and also showing cold symptoms. We have advised them to go home, contact 111, seek medical advice and if necessary to self-isolate. We will be contacting the other 25 students who went on a skiing trip over half term.

"None of these students have tested positive for coronavirus - nor have they been tested. At this stage, everything we have done has been a precautionary measure.

"The school will remain open and we will remain vigilant of any student who is off school or who is showing cold or flu symptoms.

"We are also following government advice and implemented a strategy that includes placing hand sanitisers and tissues in each room and also reminding students of good hand hygiene."

It came as two more people have tested positive for coronavirus in England.

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The two patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres after contracting the virus in Italy and Tenerife, according to England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty.

The new cases bring the total number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in the UK to 15.

Authorities in Italy say the number of people infected in the country has increased to 447 and 14 people have died, while Austria has reported two cases.

In Japan, all schools will close for several weeks, while in the US experts have reported the first case of unknown origin, which suggests the virus is spreading there.

Prof Whitty said: "Two further patients in England have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of UK cases to 15.

"The virus was passed on in Italy and Tenerife and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital, London."

One of the cases is understood to be a parent from Burbage Primary School in Buxton, Derbyshire, who caught the virus while in Tenerife.

Public Health England has not advised schools to shut in an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus, although a number have done so across the country.

The organisation's medical director Paul Cosford told Radio 4's Today programme: "Schools have to take difficult decisions given the complexity of issues that they are facing.

"What I would say is that our general advice is not to close schools."

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